As we entered our Deluxe Double Room at the Hilton Sydney, I stopped to take in the room, tastefully decorated in rich forest greens against stark, crisp white linens thanks to a recent $25m refurbishment.
But it’s immediately obvious space is at a premium.
There’s a king bed – tick; comfy armchair for reading or watching TV – tick; large windows overlooking the city – tick; and a luxurious bathroom with mood lighting in the shower – and indulgent tick. It’s perfect for two adults.
But then you open a connecting door to a mirror image of our room, with two single beds instead of a king, and suddenly space is no longer a challenge.
Breaths exhaled, our girls, aged 12 and 17, bolt next door to claim a bed and a device-charging location. Another luxury you can’t do without when travelling with kids of a certain age is Wi-Fi, the quicker and more seamless the better, and we all let out another held breath.
For some, a hotel room is simply a place to lay your head at night. But when you’re travelling with kids, it has to be so much more – space, Wi-Fi and plenty of food options are the triumvirates of holidays with teens.
To this end, Hilton recently introduced confirmed connecting family rooms as a category that parents can book online and have confirmed instantly. It is a global first, with previous interconnected options allowing guests to book two rooms and request they be next to each other and connected by an internal door, something that isn’t confirmed until rooms are assigned closer to your time of arrival. There’s never a solid guarantee your two rooms will be side by side or even close to each other, despite the best intentions of reservation staff.
Of course, the connecting option isn’t just a boon for traditional families, but also for multi-generational groups, friends travelling together and even work colleagues. And it exists across several room categories, allowing you to control your budget.
Hilton Sydney does a few things really well – it makes the most of its location in the absolute heart of Sydney and its food and beverage offerings are top-notch. Hours after checking in, we arrive at the hotel’s Glass Brasserie, a passionate endeavour of chef Luke Mangan’s since 2005.
I didn’t need convincing to try two favourites from the entrée listings – kingfish sashimi with a subtly sweet sesame dressing and fish that appears to melt in your mouth like butter, and a chicken liver parfait that is pillowy in texture but with an intense taste.
The Riverina beef fillet is a signature main and barely requires the use of the steak knife, it is so tender. And every good menu, no matter how fancy, should have a chocolate fallback dessert option. And at Glass, you can’t go past the chocolate fondant.
The beauty of having older children is you can send them up to their room while the adults enjoy a nightcap at the basement-level Marble Bar, an institution in the city for 128 years. The heritage-listed bar is decked out in mahogany and marble and has a dark and atmospheric speakeasy vibe.
Despite vowing never to eat again, we were back for the classic all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet that lasts until a leisurely 11 am.
One of the best things about Hilton is its location, with an entry on both George St and Pitt St and right across the road from the Queen Victoria Building. A tram stop right on the doorstep on busy George St ensures you are just minutes from Circular Quay, shopping on Pitt St, The Rocks and beyond.
Rooms are priced from $275 a night ($550 for the two connecting).
Nothing beats being right in the heart of the city. If you plan to explore Sydney, you have a tram stop on the doorstep and a city train station across the road. Or, you’re an easy walk from Pitt St Mall, The Rocks, Circular Quay, Royal Botanic Gardens, the Opera House and Hyde Park.
It’s compact and cosy if you want to use euphemisms, which is why it pays to have a connecting room if there are more than two in your party. The luxe bathrooms have deep baths and roomy showers with good water pressure, and did I mention the in-shower mood lighting?
It’s difficult to fault a meal at Glass Brasserie, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The brasserie’s wine bar is a statement in itself, with a menu listing in excess of 440 wines, while Zeta Bar on level four has an outdoor terrace and is the perfect spot for an evening cocktail.
A $25m refurbishment over the past few years has given this landmark Harbour City hotel a stylish facelift to offer the killer combination of a great location, indulgent food and wine options and a comfortable room to recharge your batteries.
The writer was a guest of Hilton Sydney. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com